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Preoccupied but not dismissing attachment states of mind are associated with nonsuicidal self-injury

  • Jodi Martin (a1), Jean-François Bureau (a2), Marie-France Lafontaine (a2), Paula Cloutier (a3), Celia Hsiao (a4), Dominique Pallanca (a5) and Paul Meinz (a6)...


In this investigation the factor structure of the Adult Attachment Interview was studied in a partially at-risk sample of 120 young adults. More specifically, 60 participants had engaged in nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI; 53 females, M age = 20.38 years), and 60 were non-self-injuring controls matched by age and sex. Theoretically anticipated differential associations between preoccupied (but not dismissing) states of mind and NSSI were then examined. Exploratory factor analyses identified evidence for two weakly correlated state of mind dimensions (i.e., dismissing and preoccupied) consistently identified in factor analyses of normative-risk samples. As hypothesized, results further showed that preoccupied (but not dismissing) states of mind were associated with NSSI behavior. Findings support existing arguments suggesting that the regulatory strategy adults adopt when discussing attachment-related experiences with primary caregivers, particularly passive, angry, or unresolved discourse patterns, is uniquely correlated with NSSI.


Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Jodi Martin, Department of Psychology, York University. 4700 Keele Street, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3; E-mail:


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